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‘Back to the Future’: 10 Shocking Behind-the-Scenes Facts About the Classic Time Travel Adventure

Put some plutonium in your DeLorean and travel back to 1985!


Great scott! — we traveled back in time to 1985 and uncovered the 10 most shocking Back to the Future trivia facts. From what Michael J. Fox really thought about the plot, which catchphrases were improvised and who really wanted to film just one more movie, we found it all out. Keep reading to find out all of that out and more. 

Back to The Future follows Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) a kid from 1985, who accidentally gets sent back to 1955 in the time-traveling DeLorean created by his friend, Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd). While there, he accidentally interrupts his parents’ first meeting and must race against time to try and get them back together before he ceases to exist.

Wanting to watch the film? It is avaliable for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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1. The movie had been rejected many times before 

Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd (1985) (Back to The Future Trivia)
Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd (1985) Pictures

Before Universal Pictures bought the rights to Back to The Future, the script by Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis was rejected 44 times, because people thought it wasn’t as risqué as other teen movies of the time. 

Coincidentally, Disney turned it down because they thought it was too risqué. 

2. Michael J. Fox didn’t actually sing: Back to The Future trivia

Michael J. Fox on the set of "Back to the Future trivia"
Michael J Fox (1985) Sunset Boulevard / Contributor/Getty

After finally getting his parents back together, Marty (Fox) celebrates by singing “Jonny B Goode.” But, despite playing Marty, Fox was not the one singing — it was actually musician Mark Campbell, a member of the 1980s band Jack Mack and the Heart Attack.

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3. Fox’s filming schedule was very intense 

Michael J Fox walking across the street in a scene from the film 'Back To The Future', 1985. (
Michael J Fox (1985) Universal Pictures / Handout/Getty

Fox was filming both Family Ties and Back to The Future at the same time. He would film Family Ties in the morning, and then head over to Back to The Future at night, and be there until around 3 or 4 in the morning. Then, he would go home to sleep for a few hours before waking up and doing it all again.

I was running on adrenaline,” Fox admitted in 2023.  “I barely knew where I was and I didn’t really know what I was doing. That served the film [Back to The Future], because Marty’s supposed to be disoriented.”

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4. Some parts of the film had to be reviewed by The White House 

Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd (1985) (Back to The Future Trivia)
Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd (1985) Pictures

After he is sent back in time, Marty tells Doc (Lloyd) that Ronald Reagan was the president in 1985. In response, Doc makes a joke about how he found it hard to believe that 1955 movie star Ronald Reagan went on to become president of The United States of America. 

That whole exchange was sent to the White House because the studio was worried that President Reagan was going to be offended, but it turned out to be the exact opposite. Regan reportedly loved it and asked his staff to rewind the whole scene because he found it so funny. 

5. Fox wasn’t originally cast as Marty: Back to The Future trivia

Michael J. Fox (1985)
Michael J. Fox (1985) Sunset Boulevard / Contributor/Getty

Due to his very busy filming schedule for Family Ties, Fox wasn’t originally available to play Marty. At first, C. Thomas Howell was cast but was replaced by Eric Stoltz two weeks later.  Stoltz was reported to be a very serious method actor — in fact, he made all of the cast and crew call him Marty even though the cameras weren’t rolling. 

Stoltz was soon let go, and Fox joined the cast after coming to an agreement with the Family Ties team. “Eric Stoltz is a wonderful actor, but he lacked a certain comedic sense that is inherent in Michael,” Lloyd said in 2023. “Initially, I was worried because we’d been shooting for six weeks, and it meant going back and redoing all my scenes. I thought I might not be as good. But Michael made me better.”

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6. Fox thinks the whole concept of the movie is a bit odd 

Michael J. Fox and Lea Thompson (1985) Pictures

Despite playing the lead role in the film, Fox found the plot of it a bit odd, specifically the part where Marty’s mother, Lorraine (Lea Thompson), has a massive crush on her son after he gets sent back in time.

“There’s something about it that people still respond to because it’s so weird,” Fox says. “Not to be crude, but it’s a movie about almost f—–g your mom and she’s totally ready for it. Even at the time, I realized it was bizarre — plus Lea [Thompson] was pretty cute.”

7. The DeLorean was selected for a very specific reason 

Michael J. Fox (1985)
Michael J. Fox (1985) Pictures

Doc Brown uses a DeLorean for his time machine. The reason was that production thought it looked the most space-like, and it would help the residents of 1955 believe Marty was an alien.

Coincidentally, the film was almost called Space Man From Pluto.

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8. The idea for the film came from a yearbook: Back to The Future trivia

Michael J. Fox (1985)
Michael J. Fox (1985) Pictures

After screenwriter Bob Gale discovered his father’s high school yearbook, he began to wonder if the two would have been friends, and that brought the whole Marty McFly going back in time and befriending his own father idea to life.

9. Christoper Lloyd wanted to do one more movie

Christopher Lloyd wearing concoction on his head in a scene from the film
Christopher Lloyd (1985) Universal Pictures / Handout/Getty

There are two Back to The Future sequelsOne where Doc, Marty and Jennifer (Elisabeth Shue) travel to 2015, entitled Back to the Future Part II (1989), and the other one (Back to the Future Part III, released in 1990) set in the Wild West. Surprisingly, Lloyd wanted to do one more where the two go to ancient Rome, but sadly it never happened. 

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10. Tom Wilson coined two of Biff’s catchphrases

Michael J. Fox and Tom Wilson (1985)
Michael J. Fox and Tom Wilson (1985) Pictures

Two of Biff’s (Tom Wilson) most well known lines are “make like a tree and get outta here” and “butthead.” Well, those were actually improvised by Wilson and production loved them so much, they left them in the final film.

For all things 1980s, click here!

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